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Opinions of Sunday, 11 January 2015

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

The British Speedy Trial & Conviction of Cocaine Trafficker

The British Speedy Trial & Conviction of Cocaine Trafficker Nayele Ametefeh Shames Corrupt Ghanaian Justice System – Woyomegate Scandal.






A Ghanaian cocaine dealer and trafficker going by the name Nayele Ametefeh and aliases Ruby Adu Gyamfi and Ruby Mahama, was recently apprehended by the British Heathrow Airport immigration in London on 10 November 2014, for possessing a quantity of Class A drug (cocaine) in her hand luggage. To be precise, she was carrying 12 kilos of the white contraband stuff to London. On her first arraignment in court charged with possessing, and exporting illegal narcotic drugs into the United Kingdom, on 27 November 2014, Nayele who additionally possessed an Austrian passport and allegedly Ghanaian Diplomatic passport, quickly and remorsefully pleaded guilty to the offence. This took place at the Isleworth Crown Court in Middlesex, London in the United Kingdom.





Let me pause to define narcotic as used above before proceeding further with my story or narration of views. Narcotic is defined as "any of a class of substances that blunt the senses, as opium, morphine, belladonna, and alcohol, that in large quantities produce euphoria, stupor, or coma, that when used constantly can cause habituation or addiction, and that are used in medicine to relieve pain, cause sedation, and induce sleep".





On Tuesday 6 January 2015, the presiding judge, Judge Edmonds QC, pronounced judgment, sentencing her (Nayele) to 8 years and 8 months in prison.





Within two months of her arrest, conviction has been made; this made possible by the fact that she pleaded guilty. Her guilty plea avoided the situation of going through any lengthy trial with the likely intermittent adjournments. Even if there had been adjournments emanating from her not pleading guilty but going for a full trial, it would not take unnecessarily long time as it does take in Ghana. Why, one may ask? It is because in Ghana, the justice system is so corrupt. Judges are obviously corrupt and are easily induced with money, promises, favours etc., to twist verdict in favour of which litigant pays them heavy bribe. This explains the unnecessarily incessant adjournments of cases, in the hope of frustrating the party (either the plaintiff or the defendant) in whose favour the case must be decided if the judge was not secretly influenced by the otherwise guilty party.





Take the case of Alfred Agbesi Woyome for example. His swindling of Ghana out of GHc 51.2 million dating as far back as June 2010, is still pending in court, without any signs of pronouncement of judgment in sight, but numerous adjournments based on completely silly excuses from both the prosecution and defence teams and at times, from the presiding judge. How long ago has "Woyomegate Scandal" become subject for court determination but it is still pending? Is it not more than three years ago?





Why has the presiding judge, Justice Ajet-Nasam of the Financial Division of an Accra Fast Track High Court, been postponing the case incessantly for no apparent or for insubstantial reasons until today? Justice delayed, is justice denied. Is it because of the fact that Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the greatest of the great Ghanaian swindlers of the 21st Century, is either the sole or the major financier of the ruling NDC party?





Why is it taking the judge so long to pronounce judgment on the Woyomegate scandal knowing Woyome himself has openly admitted that he had no contract with the Government of Ghana? Has the Ghana Supreme Court not directed that Woyome pays back the money because he obtained it fraudulently?





Many a time, I find the Ghanaian judges weird when they vacillate between determining a case brought before them on its merit, and deciding it in favour of which party greases their palm with heavy dollar, pound sterling or Cedi wads hence the disgustingly unnecessary adjournments.





Look at someone in Ghana stealing a fowl or some farm produce (cassava, plantain) worth about Ghc20. Some judges do convict them to prison terms ranging between three and ten years while hardened criminals doing armed robbery or duping the nation out of big sums of money, e.g. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, are given a slap on the wrist, or are allowed to saunter around the streets free persons. Is that how the laws in Ghana operate? Is that how Ghanaian judges exercise their discretionary powers under Article 296 of the 1992 Republican Constitution?





Again, look at the case of Kwaw Kesse, that renowned Ghanaian hiplife musician recently arrested and being prosecuted in Kumasi for smoking a substance suspected to be marijuana (Indian hemp, wee, weed, cannabis). The judge presiding over the case refused to grant him bail, but has been remanding him to prison since his arrest. He was only to be granted bail a few days ago following public outcry condemning the judge of abusing his discretionary powers.





I do not condone acts of crime. However, Mr Kesse was not found peddling "wee" but was only inhaling a joint of cannabis. Yes, he is equally guilty in the eyes of Ghana law but should he be treated that harshly without bail even when he was seriously taken ill? He was on remand to prison for over a month. What nonsense that is?





In the United Kingdom where I reside, smoking cannabis (a Class C drug) is not a crime unless you are caught dealing them in quantity. I do not expect Ghana to behave same as it operates in the UK or the Netherlands in regard of drugs, their classifications and attendant punishments when caught possessing them. Nonetheless, treating Kwaw Kesse the way he is being treated is absolutely outrageous when those in government and their agents and assigns are ransacking the government coffers with impunity.





Furthermore, I find it immensely ridiculous, insane; abuse of power and unprofessional the behaviour of one Justice Paul K. Richardson of the Kumasi branch of the Ghana Human Rights Court. In the face of abundant (provision of) credible evidence, citation of breached laws from the 1992 Republican Constitution, Ghana Criminal Code Act 1960 (Act 29), Warrington Notes (Article 13) and Ashanti conventions as elaborated in Dr K. A. Busia's book titled, "THE POSITION OF CHIEF IN THE MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEM OF ASHANTI", the judge still had the shameless audacity bordering on corruption, unprofessionalism etc., to dismiss a case brought before him for determination. He did not offer cogent reasons based on law, for throwing out the case which has now become, an albatross hanging loosely around his neck, casting doubt over his credibility as a competent career judge or lawyer.





The evidence of the case in question (Kumawu stool dispute), is posted on the YouTube titled, "Asantehene involves in corruption" and the breached laws can be found at the provided link below.



http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=338032





Having said all this, the speedy conviction of Nayele Ametefeh by the British judge, within the confinements of the British Court guidelines, makes a fool of his Ghanaian legal compatriots. If Nayele had been arrested in Ghana, quickly accepted her guilt as she had done in Britain, the judges would still keep on adjourning the hearing, having probably already been induced by that "power from above" to grant her bail. They would have kept postponing the case until it had become "foolish case" or dismissed for lack of whatever – evidence etc.





Ghanaian judges should please stop making mockery of justice whereby they end up making big fools of themselves. Corruption has robbed most of them of their professionalism, integrity and whatever good quality they should normally be credited with.





Their despicable attitudes remind me of what the late Emmanuel Marfo, alias Kwame Nyame of Asante-Oyoko, who was more of a brother to me than a friend, once told me. He said that during a conversation with his late uncle, Justice Agyapong, an Accra High Court judge who was cowardly murdered in cold blood by the Provisional National Defence Council government with or without, the permission of Rawlings, on 30 June 1982, he asked him a question. He posed a question to him about the educational qualifications of judges and precisely, wanted to know about that of his uncle. Justice Agyapong answered, "Some judges may have studied abroad, earned higher qualifications, yet, they are unable to give fair judgment".





Kwame was marvelled at the brilliance and fairness of his uncle in every court verdict he pronounced. Was not this attitude of his, to live by the truth, live above reproach, coupled with his refusal to join the PNDC government when approached by Rawlings in search of legitimacy for his military junta that cost him his life in the end?





Why can't other judges emulate the shining demonstrable integrity of this mentioned, although deceased, judge?







Ghanaian judges, please emulate your counterparts in the Western Civilized world where the laws function as they should. Stop creating monsters e.g. Afari Gyans, thieves e.g. Alfred Woyomes and the "Yen ntie obiaa" group of persons who have developed tough skin to live above the law, thus, commit crimes with impunity.





From whatever angle or perspective, and however Ghanaians view the prison term sentence imposed on Nayele, it was speedy and within the British law, but not outside the application of the law and the evidence at hand as it contrary prevails in the Ghanaian courts where judges are often capricious in their pronouncement of judgments. The British judge took into consideration certain mitigating factors – the ages of her children, her remorsefulness, her quick acceptance of guilt without wasting court's time conducting investigations and wasting British taxpayers' money going through a length trial etc.







Rockson Adofo